Ecological Covariates at Kill Sites Influence Tiger (Panthera tigris) Hunting Success in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand

Somporn Pakpien, Achara Simcharoen, Somphot Duangchantrasiri, Vijak Chimchome, Nantachai Pongpattannurak, James L.D. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite significant knowledge of tiger ecology, information on hunting behavior is limited because tigers hunt in habitats where they are difficult to observe. From May 2013 to June 2015, we visited kill sites of eight female radio-collared tigers (Panthera tigris) to identify prey species of this species in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand. At 150 kill sites, 11 mammalian species were identified from skeletal remains or hair samples. Sambar (Rusa unicolor), banteng (Bos javanicus), and gaur (Bos gaurus) composed 95.1% of tiger prey biomass. A subset of 87 kill sites was paired with 87 randomly selected sites within the home ranges of five of the eight radio-collared tigers to determine the influence of prey abundance and other ecological variables on hunting success. At each site, geomorphic and ecological covariates were sampled in 900 m2 square plots. A generalized linear model was used to investigate differences between kill sites and random sites. Mean relative prey abundance at kill sites was significantly lower than relative prey abundance at random sites (77.8 and 139.3 tracks/ha, respectively) indicating tigers did not kill in areas of higher relative prey abundance. Model selection was used to examine 12 landscape features that potentially influence kill site location. In the best model, low shrub cover and high crown cover were highly significant; tree density was included in this model but was not significant. This is the first study to demonstrate that kill location requires a combination of landscape features to first detect and then successfully stalk prey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTropical Conservation Science
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 7 2017

Keywords

  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • cluster locations
  • hunting success
  • tiger kill site characteristics
  • tiger prey

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